1 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 5
The line of Reuben unto the captivity: their war against the Hagarites, 1 Chronicles 5:1-10. The chief men and habitation of Gad, 1 Chronicles 5:11-17. The number of the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, that marched against the Hagarites, and overcame them, 1 Chronicles 5:18-24. They are all carried captive into Assyria, 1 Chronicles 5:25,26.
For he was the first-born: these and the following words 1 Chronicles 5:3, which are enclosed within a parenthesis, seem to be inserted here as an answer to a secret objection, or as a reason why Reuben’s genealogy was not set down first, but Judah’s was put before it, which is double; the first follows immediately, the other is in the last clause of this verse. His birthright, i.e. the right of the first-born, which, although it contain in it something of dominion, Genesis 27:1,32, which Joseph had in his own person, Ge 49; yet principally consisted in having a double portion, as appears from Deuteronomy 21:17, which Joseph enjoyed both in his person and in his posterity, which had two parts of twelve in Canaan. And it is Joseph’s posterity which is here considered.
Unto the sons of Joseph; Ephraim and Manasseh, each having a distinct portion.
The sons of Israel: this is added emphatically, because they were reputed and treated as if they had been the immediate sons of Jacob; of which see Genesis 48:5.
The genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright: this is the second reason, which showeth both why Reuben’s genealogy was not first mentioned; and if another tribe was to be ranked before it, why that was Judah, and not Joseph, as it might seem most fit for the former reason; because, saith he, the order of their genealogy was not to be ruled by the birthright but by a higher privilege, which was given to Judah, and which here follows.
Judah; not the person, (for so Joseph prevailed,) but the tribe of Judah.
Prevailed above his brethren; excelled the other tribes in number and power, and especially in the following privilege.
And of him, or for of him, as the Hebrew vau is oft used; this being a reason of the foregoing assertion, or a declaration wherein he did prevail.
Came the chief ruler; the government was by God’s promise and appointment to be seated chiefly and most durably in that tribe, first in David and his successors, and then in the Messiah, who sprang out of Judah, Hebrews 7:14, which was a far greater privilege than the birthright. Or, as to the ruler, (i.e. as to the point of dominion,) he was more than he, or preferred before him, i.e. before Joseph, who is named in the very next clause, the pronoun being referred unto the following noun, which is frequent among the Hebrews, as Psalms 87:1 105:19.
But the birthright; or,
although, as vau is oft used; so this prevents or removes an objection against Judah’s precedency taken from his birthright.
Joel was the son either of Carmi last mentioned; or rather of Hanoch, Reuben’s first-born, because he and his were successively princes of this tribe, as may be gathered from 1 Chronicles 5:6.
His brethren, i.e. the other sons of Reuben, and their posterity.
The chief, Heb. the head; each was the head of his family.
Who dwelt, to wit, the Reubenites, all these here before mentioned, as appears both by the following verses, which relate to the whole tribe; and by the agreement of this description of their inheritance with that, Joshua 13:15,16.
He inhabited, i.e. the tribe of Reuben.
From the river Euphrates; from Jordan and the wilderness beyond it unto Euphrates. Or,
of the wilderness, which lies towards or reacheth to the river Euphrates, namely, the great wilderness of Kedemoth, Deuteronomy 2:26, which was extended far and wide towards Euphrates; for that was the eastern border of Reuben’s possession, and not Euphrates, to which their habitation never reached.
Their cattle were multiplied; which forced them to enlarge their habitation as far as they could eastward towards Euphrates.
They made war; the Gadites and Manassites joining with them in the war, 1 Chronicles 5:18,19.
With the Hagarites; the Ishmeelites, who dwelt in Arabia the Desert.
They dwelt in their tents; the Israelites took possession of their lands, and tents or houses.
Throughout all the east land of Gilead; which lay eastward from the land of Gilead.
The chief; the prince of the tribe, or at least of his family, when they were numbered, to wit, in the days of Jotham, 1 Chronicles 5:17.
Shaphat in Bashan, i.e. who dwelt in the city of Bashan. Others thus, Who abode in Bashan to defend the city and country, when their brethren went out to war against the Hagarites, 1 Chronicles 5:18,19.
These are the children; these seven last named.
This Ahi was the head or chief of the houses or families, either,
1. Of those seven named 1 Chronicles 5:13; or,
2. Of Abdiel and Guni last named, and of their fifties.
They dwelt, i.e. the children or tribe of Gad.
In Gilead, i.e. in part of Gilead; for the Reubenites and Manassites dwelt in other parts of it, Deuteronomy 3:12,13,16.
In Bashan; in the land of Bashan, as it is said, 1 Chronicles 5:11.
Quest. How come the Gadites to dwell in Bashan, when all Bashan is expressly said to be given to the half tribe of Manasseh, Deuteronomy 3:13 Joshua 13:29,30?
Answ. All Bashan is put for the greatest part of it by a synecdoche, very frequent in Scripture and all authors; and so the Gadites might possess a part of it. And thus both Bashan and Gilead are used for parts of them, Joshua 17:1, where it is said of Machir a Manassite, that he had Gilead and Bashan. And as it is unquestionably true that Gilead is taken sometimes more largely for all the land of the Israelites beyond Jordan, sometimes more strictly for that part of it which borders upon Mount Gilead; of which See Poole "Joshua 17:1"; the like may be presumed concerning Bashan; and so in its strictest sense it might be all given to the Manassites, and yet in its largest sense might comprehend a part of the land belonging to the Gadites.
In her towns, i.e. in some of her cities and towns.
In all the suburbs, i.e. in its fields and pasture grounds, 1 Chronicles 27:29. Of Sharon; not that within Jordan, Isaiah 35:2, but another without Jordan.
Upon their borders, to wit, of Gilead and Bashan; for Gilead properly so called, or the greatest part of it, belonged to the Reubenites; and Bashan, or the greatest part of it, to the Manassites; and so the Gadites (whose habitation was between the Reubenites and Manassites) had those parts of both their countries which were towards their borders. Or,
unto their borders, i.e. as far as the suburbs or fields of Sharon, which were last mentioned, were extended.
In the days of Jotham king of Judah; who reigning long, partly in his father’s days, and partly by himself, 2Ki 15, and being at leisure as to wars or troubles, thought this a fit season to examine the state of his people.
In the days of Jeroboam; either the second of that name, of whom see 2 Kings 13:13. Or rather the first Jeroboam; partly because he is called simply Jeroboam, without any addition; which shows that he speaks of the most famous of the two; and partly because this work of taking an account of the people doth far better agree to the times of Jeroboam the First, when the kingdom of Israel was first erected and established, and broken off from that of Judah, when it was necessary for Jeroboam to know his own strength, and the numbers of his people, than to the times of Jeroboam the Second, when the kingdom of Israel was broken, and near to its ruin.
i.e. With the posterity of Jetur, &c., who were Ishmeelites, as appears from Genesis 25:15.
They were helped against them, to wit, by God, 1 Chronicles 5:22, who gave them extraordinary courage and success.
All that were with them; their friends and allies in this war.
Of their camels fifty thousand; for camels were very numerous in Arabia, being used in war, and for burdens, &c., and being very patient of thirst, and therefore most fit for those hot and dry countries.
Of men an hundred thousand; whom they took prisoners, and either used as slaves, or sold them for such.
The war was of God; God put them upon it, and mightily assisted them in it.
They dwelt, i.e. that party of these tribes which went out to this war, being 44,760 men; or part of them by the consent of the rest.
Until the captivity; of which 2 Kings 15:29 17:6.
Having discoursed of the Reubenites, 1 Chronicles 5:3, &c., and next of the Gadites, 1 Chronicles 5:11, &c., he now comes to the Manassites.
In the land, i.e. in their land, to wit, in the northern part of the land beyond Jordan.
Stirred up the spirit; he so governed his counsels and affections, that he should bring his forces against this people rather than others. Of Halah, Habor, &c., see 2 Kings 17:6 18:11.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany